Networking Workshop of Teacher Saving Associations

Participants posted for a group picture on a hill looking to "Forest Sea", during a short trip at the end of Day 1

FNF has collaborated with CEDAC in 1999 by supporting the Development Dialogue (DD) program of development professionals from different NGOs/IOs in Phnom Penh. In 2007-2009, the DD was extended to nine provinces, due to EU funding for three years period. During this period, 38 TF were also organized. The outcomes of these TF are the establishment of around 50 teachers saving associations in around 50 schools. CEDAC and FNF are still in contact with them in the form of annual follow-up workshop to strengthen them.

On April 06-09, 2011; at Pechreada guesthouse, in Mondulkiri province, a workshop was organized by the Teacher Saving Associations Net (TSAN), CEDAC and FNF. FNF is the sponsor for this program, with the small contribution of participants concerning travel expenses from provinces to Phnom Penh. Dr.  Yang Saing Koma, President of CEDAC, was the main facilitator.

Objective of the activity

  • Shared the progress of teacher saving associations and future activity plan
  • Shared and exchanged experiences, best practices and lessons learnt in managing Teachers Savings Associations
  • Provided theoretical input on “co-operative concept”, teachers’ credit unions and best practices
  • Strengthened the solidarity and motivation among teachers from different provinces in reinforcing and expanding the saving association
  • Elected formal contact persons of the provincial networks and representative at the national level

 Short evaluation

Day 1

  • It started with the arrival of participants from seven provinces to Phnom Penh
  • 9:00am: departure to Mondulkiri with lunch along the way
  • 16:30: arrival in Mondulikri (about 400 km from Phnom Penh)
  • Introduction of the program and time for reflection since the last meeting in October 2010

Day 2

The workshop started with the introduction of the participants, introduction of the facilitator, the introduction of the FNF program in Cambodia, background of Teacher Forum (TF) and background of the collaboration between FNF and CEDAC.

55 rural school teachers (of which fifteen were females and two were students) participated in the workshop. The participants were 2 officials of the district education office, 1 official of the school cluster, 11 principles, 3 vice principles, 35 teachers representing and 2 students more than 50 schools and 45 Teacher Savings Associations across seven provinces (Pursat, Kampong Chhnang, Takeo, Prey Veng, Kampot, Kampong Cham, and Svay Rieng). Total participants including facilitator and organizers team were 63.

In the morning session, time was provided for presentation of the progress of each association since the last meeting in October 2010, in Kampong Cham. It was done in the working group by each province. The results were written on the A0 paper and then hanged on the wall so that everybody can have a look at it and sharing or asking for clarification to presenter. As result, it can be summarized as below:

Existing associations were founded between 2007 and 2009, and started with 841 founding members. Currently, the number of members has increased to 1,281 representing 45 teachers saving associations in different schools. The starting capital was 167,094,000 Riel (approximately $40,000 USD). Since that time, the total capital accumulated to $400,000 USD. This capital is being borrowed by its members and used for the benefits of small-scale investments and in case of urgent need.

In the afternoon sessions, time was spent to reflect what were the success factors, what was the constraints factors, what are the drivers, how to overcome those constraints etc.

Day 3

In the next day, time was allocated for review session. It was followed by theoretical input on the history and core value of “Co-operative”, the case study of the Australian Teachers Credit Unions and some best example as food for thoughts for participants to think about and reflect. Participants got also opportunity to work in group to discuss deeply about these matters. Then, participants from each province assembled to elect its representative for coordination purposes. They have also elected Mr. Chheng Sophannarum, the director of Kor High School as their representative at the national level in coordination with CEDAC and other associations.

Traditional dance with our Phnorng minoroty at the solidarity dinner

At the end of the workshop, one participant stated, “I am very happy to meet my colleagues from different provinces during this important workshop. We have shared and learnt from each other, especially the useful input by Dr. Yang Saing Koma on the core value, ethics and management issues concerning co-operatives life; so that we can strengthen ourselves financially, socially and finally help to improve the quality of education for our children.”

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